Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change has given Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) up to Friday next week to allow National Oil Company (NOCMA) to go ahead and place tenders for fuel importation.
Chairperson of the committee, Welani Chilenga, was speaking in Mangochi when the committee met officials from the two institutions.
“We called them to iron out their differences over the importation of fuel,” observed Chilenga saying the committee fears the standoff between the two institutions poses a threat to the country’s fuel security.
MERA, which regulates the energy sector, is yet to permit NOCMA to award contracts to companies to import fuel.
“We need to find a lasting solution to the current impasse.
Otherwise, we may soon find ourselves in a situation similar to what happened in 2012 when the country was hit by a serious fuel shortage.
“What is happening between NOCMA and MERA has a huge potential of sending Malawi back to another fuel crisis. We decided to invite the two institutions to map the way forward. We have agreed that MERA should come back to the committee with a new decision to allow NOCMA to carry out its operations of fuel importation,” said Chilenga.
Acting Chief Executive Officer for NOCMA Helen Buluma said the institution was supposed to have awarded the contracts for the supply of fuel over two months ago.
“Our tendering process is awaiting a go-ahead from MERA. There’s nothing we can do but wait to hear from MERA on the issue,” said Buluma.
Efforts to speak to MERA officials proved futile as they refused to give an interview after the meeting.
There are growing fears that failure to import fuel in good time may result in fuel shortages reminiscent of what happened
nine years ago when people were moving with jerry cans in search of fuel.